Old Protestant Cemetery (Northam Road Cemetery)

Attraction Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shan, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia Published on: 01-07-2016

30 mins
09:00 AM
09:30 AM
Second-time visit
0.00 USD

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The Old Protestant Cemetery, is a disused Christian cemetery in George Town, Penang. It is now classified as a heritage site and is maintained by the Penang Heritage Trust.

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Why Old Protestant Cemetery (Northam Road Cemetery) is special ?

Protestant Cemetery is the oldest Christian cemetery in Penang. Not far from the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, it is also called Northam Road Cemetery and was set up in the 18th-century for British colonial administrators, traders and missionaries that arrived after Penang’s establishment in 1786.
The Protestant church’s earliest grave is that of Captain Francis Light (one of the fathers of British colonialism in Southeast Asia). Other graves include those of James Richardson Logan (editor of the Penang Gazette) and Reverend Hutchings (early leader of St. George’s Church and founder of the Penang Free School). Movie buffs will be interested to know that Thomas Leonowens is buried here: he was 31 years-old when he passed away in 1859, leaving his widow stranded in the East. He was the husband of Anna, the self-same Anna of The King & I or Anna & the King fame.
The Protestant Cemetery was the most widely used graveyard until the Western Road Cemetery was created in the late 19th century: since then the Protestant cemetery stopped accepting new burials.

What to explore at Old Protestant Cemetery (Northam Road Cemetery)?

Mature frangipani trees sweeten the air for those who want to stroll along and check out the graves at the Protestant Cemetery (some with beautiful tombstones) of noteworthy figures from Penang's early years. Some of the simple, square-ish tombstones are in a state of disrepair (Captain Light's tomb is surprisingly simple), but there are plenty that are huge and ornate affairs. 

You will notice that many of those buried here died young: this is because there was a severe malaria outbreak after the clearing of the forests

Source: http://www.penang.ws/penang-attractions/

How to get to Old Protestant Cemetery (Northam Road Cemetery)?

To get to the Protestant Cemetery you can take Rapid Penang’s free shuttle bus service to Lebuh Muntri Station: from there walk north along Penang Road until the junction of Northam Road. The burial grounds are located on the left-hand side of the road.

Selling points

  • “Fascinating place of history”
  • “Beautiful old cemetery”
  • “Oldest Christian cemetery”
  • “Very interesting peek at colonial times ”
  • “Very Moving - Must See”
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3.0 days
141.13 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
22 places




Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shan, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia

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Tips for you

  • The Catholic cemetery is located to the rear on the south side, but you have to walk on the outside perimeter to gain access or climb over the fallen wall at the far end.
  • Located along Northam Road, opposite the E&O Hotel, this is the oldest Christian cemetery in Penang.
  • Must see for history and architecture lovers.
  • Behind this cemetery, accessible through a small door in the wall, is the Roman Catholic Cemetery.
    Things nearby
  • There is a good street market nearby.
    Things nearby


TripAdvisor View more

I don't know why but if there is an old cemetery I have to go and take a look.This cemetery was in a very poor state which made it hard to get around, but there were some facinating tombs and graves and it gave a very sobering insight into life and death at the time.It is well worth a visit.

TripAdvisor View more

Well worth a visit - overgrown and in decline the area is still fascinating with many famous men and women buried there. To read the inscriptions can be heartbreaking, especially when one sees tomb of a mother and 4 of her children who died at regular intervals over a 6 year period. One interesting grave was that of "Anna", the governess from where the movie and musical The King and I came from

TripAdvisor View more

The Heritage Trust runs a free tour on the last Sunday of the month from 2pm. It leaves from tne Little Penang street narket , also only held o th elast Sunday of the month. Look online for the LFSS Penang ( which stands for the Last Friday Saturday Sunday). lots of free tours and things to do on these three days a month

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